Saturday, November 19, 2016

I have been to... Paphos Castle

Steve the Wargamer has taken the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer for some much needed warmth and sun in Cyprus* it seemed foolish therefore not to also visit the local object of military interest..  

* to be hideously recommended by the way..  my first trip to Cyprus, but hot sun and 25' in mid November and only four and a bit hours from the UK is a wonderful thing...  not my last trip I would suspect..

So..  not a major fortification but some interesting history, and well worth the two and half euro a head entry..

From Wiki which sums it up nicely..

"It was originally built as a Byzantine fort to protect the harbour. It was then rebuilt by the Lusignans in the thirteenth century after being destroyed in the earthquake of 1222. In 1570 it was dismantled by the Venetians. After capturing the island, the Ottomans restored and strengthened it. Throughout the ages it has seen many uses. It has served as a fortress, a prison and even a warehouse for salt during the British occupation of the island".

Its a totally dominating position, no record of it ever having seen action as far as I know, though.. I was quite surprised at how late it was built (Byzantine) given that Pathos was the seat of the Roman Pro Consul in charge of Cyprus (there is a separate archaeological exhibit covering his villa and surrounding buildings that is also worth going to..  simply superb mosaics, and the size of the palace/villa is stunning) .. maybe the Byzantines built on a yet to be found Roman structure??

Either way there were originally two towers and a connecting wall, only this tower/castle remains, and the ruins of the second are further along the sea wall..

Pleasingly solid..

I suspect feeling still runs high over the continuing partition of the island as the (Turkish; dating from the Mameluke occupation) inscription above the entrance looked to have been covered up..

It reminded me very much of a church inside..

This area was used as a mosque in the Mameluke period..

Upper ramparts..

Crenellations for 12 guns bought in by the Turks, and taken with them when the British (re)occupied the island.

A convoluted history... they refer to the Franks which gives an indication of what is meant by Lusignan in the wiki entry...  these were a branch of a French ruling family in the 3rd Crusade days who were given the island by Richard the Lionheart who had originally conquered it while on his way to the Holy Land, sold it to the Templar's, who then mismanaged the island to the point that they asked Richard to take it back following revolt by the local population.

Guy of Lusignan was the husband of Queen Sibylla the hereditary Queen of Jerusalem - which is as good an excuse as any for a gratuitous picture of Eva Green as said Sibylla - but was universally disliked and on her death needed to be moved "sideways" but without losing face - Cyprus was the answer..  a kingdom, but in revolt, so Richard killed two birds with one stone... 

...and the remains of the second tower..

...well worth an hour of anyone's time..


  1. Thanks for sharing your adventure - great photos and details. Have a good time.

    1. Ta Dannoc.. back now and already wishing I was back there!

  2. It looks like a great place to visit. I visited Crete in september, which is also a nice place to visit, with lots of interesting Minoan/Mycenean sites.

    And thank you for the pictures of Queen Sibylla. I would watch the movie again, only for her eyes!

    1. Wim - I have Crete on my list to go to.. read Beevor's book on the German aerial invasion last year and have a yen to see some of the landing sites.. and yes, I need to find the DVD and re-watch.. "Deus Vult!" :o)

  3. I do not understand the concept of a gratuitous picture of Eva Green. Never been to Cyprus although my sister went there once (on an RAF Hercules).

    It was 0 degrees here this morning, is now pouring with rain and the South East has been warned of 80 mph winds tonight.

    1. Legatus - you are of course right about Eva... I worked out that the last time before this I had been in Cyprus was in an RAF VC 10 in 1974.. we landed at Akrotiri in the middle of the Turkish invasion/emergency... slightly more peaceful this time.. :o)